August 4, 2005

Rounding Third

  • Nationals 3, Dodgers 1

Well, at least Nick Johnson got the memo. Nicky's 8th inning homer over the right field wall provided an insurance run for the Nats, adding to Preston Wilson's 2-run blast (which was basically to dead center, but we're ignoring that).

On the injury front, Jim Bowden's brainstorm-du-jour appears to have something to do with sending Vinny Castilla to the glue factory. J.B. is pondering calling up the Nats 1st round draft pick, 3B Ryan "Dutch" Zimmerman from AA Harrisburg. Normally I would say this sounds a bit extreme for a team that's only 2 games out of the wild card and just 4.5 back in the NL East, but Vinny is becoming a Guzman-like sucking black hole in the offense. And Dutch isn't the only potential replacement down on the farm.

Here's a look at the guys who could be manning the hot corner if Vinny goes on the DL:

Ryan "Dutch" Zimmerman: The Nats 3B of the future. Fourth overall pick in the 2005 draft. J.B. compares him to Mike Schmidt and Scott Rolen and believes he's already "one of the best defensive third basemen in baseball." Hitting a comfy .278 with 4 HRs and 17 RBIs in AA ball, but would ideally get more time in the minors before being called up.

Tony Blanco: Finally, an answer to the question, "What position does Tony Blanco play, anyway?" Rehabbing in AAA, he's hitting .283 in 15 games. Played in 39 games for the Nats this season, hitting .250 with 1 HR and 7 RBI. He wasn't used to spell Vinny before, which suggests that he might not be a very good defensive third baseman.

Brendan Harris: In the same boat as Blanco. Good offense, questionable defense. Was up with the Nats for 4 games earlier this year, going 3 for 9 with a homer and 3 RBI.

Kory Casto: Ranked by Baseball America as one of the best prospects in the Nationals organization, he's batting .305 with 20 HRs and 74 RBI for single A Potomac. But we're in big trouble if we have to bring a single A third baseman straight up to the majors. Probably would be in AA if it weren't for Zimmerman.

Rick Short: The Rodney Dangerfield of Nats baseball. Short's hitting a ridiculous .380 in New Orleans with an OPS of 1.009. He's hurt right now, but unless he lost his hands in a freak farm machinery accident he really ought to get a shot. He can't be any more of a defensive liability than Carlos Baerga.

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